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How Dundee & Angus College have worked with local businesses to reduce emissions.

Banner image for Working with local business to reduce emissions and learn about electric vehicleswebsite-blog-17062021

Well, what a year it’s been, I think we’re all pretty well agreed on that.  But as we begin to cautiously unfurl our wings and relax some of the covid restrictions that this pandemic has forced on us, (in the UK at least), there is another huge elephant in the room; the climate emergency.   

Yes, you would think that with most of the population confined to their homes for much of 2020 and half of 2021, there would have been a huge drop in CO2 emissions. Certainly, in the short term that appears to be the case. Thanks to lockdowns in early 2020, carbon emissions fell by 17% at their peak, but according to the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) this has only marginally slowed the overall rise in concentrations. In other words, unless we permanently find a way of reducing our emissions, our planet is still under a huge threat. 

So, what do we do? For some years now, Dundee and Angus College’s engineering department has been forging ahead with plans to do our bit to help. Statistics show that the largest contributor to transport emissions is the road sector. In combination, cars, lorries, vans, buses and motorcycles accounted for 9.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015 (73% of total transport emissions). 

As leading training providers for motor engineers in our area, we have been developing plans for years now to create innovative and progressive answers to some of these problems. 

We know that the Government is working towards a bold and ambitious vision where the UK car fleet has zero emissions by 2050. With this in mind, Dundee and Angus College has joined forces with local automotive firm, Robert Lawson & Sons and the Energy Skills Partnership to develop a fully functioning ‘Electric Vehicle and Hybrid Training Centre’ which can serve not just Tayside but the whole country. This means that as the vehicle landscape changes, we will help ensure Scotland has vehicle technicians trained to a high standard to maintain and repair this new fleet of Ultra Low Emission Vehicles.

Based in Dundee, Robert Lawson and Sons is an established business with more than 30 years’ experience. During this time it has built a credible reputation as being one of the best in the industry when it comes to electrical conversions of emergency services vehicles. Having the training centre onsite at their depot is a huge advantage as this has meant that trainees can be fully immersed in the working environment as they take part in the course.

But we’re not stopping there. We have big plans for the centre as we grow and develop it into a training hub in the heart of Dundee. Its focus will be to reskill and upskill, not only vehicle technicians, but also our emergency first responders, who operate on the front line and will come into contact with these vehicles on a daily basis as they respond to emergency situations. 

So, it’s quite a change from the traditional image of a car mechanic; lift the hood of an electric car and it’s a very different picture. But what has made this experience so wonderful for the College has been the quality of the relationship we have managed to forge with Robert Lawson and Sons. Like us, they are a passionate team and their industry experience has elevated our course to a whole new level. It allows us to respond in real time to industry requirements and ensure that as a training provider we are at the forefront of any sector developments. 

So, I began this blog with a rather bleak global picture of CO2 emissions and the all too temporary effect of the pandemic. But, as you’ve probably gathered, I have a much more passionate and positive message to spread. Yes, we’re a very small part of the jigsaw here at the College, but we’re very much buying into the bigger picture. Whatever the next few years brings us in political and economic terms, we’re determined to do our best to help reduce emissions and with strong industry partnerships produce some sector leading training opportunities.